A small but enthusiastic crowd welcomed the Buccs to the field, and Smitherman’s new triple option was an immediate hit as fullback Sincere Wells slashed up the middle for a run of more than 20 yards. It would have gone the distance had Wells not slammed full-speed into a game official and gone to the turf.
Quarterback Jonny Shampton pulled the ball on the next play and would have scored on an option keeper, but it was called back because of an illegal procedure.
Instead, Shampton hit star receiver Meechi Harris, an impressive athlete who also saw some time at safety, for a touchdown on a beautiful fade pass. Harris has more than a dozen college offers, including Kentucky, Michigan State, Iowa, Wisconsin and Cincinnati.
Early in the scrimmage, Xenia ripped off several big plays that were called back on penalties, including a long touchdown pass to one of the slot backs on a seam route.
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Defensively, the Buccs have moved to a slanting 50 defense, and that unit also got off to a strong start against the Panthers.
Xenia, 3-7 in the GWOC American South last season, kicks off the regular season Aug. 24 with a visit from rival Beavercreek.
The Buccs and Beavers will play on a Thursday night for the second straight season.